Sprint Qualifying weekend rules will be changed because of parc ferme

2021 Styrian Grand Prix, Sunday – Wolfgang Wilhelm

Formula 1 is ready to sign the new regulations regarding the new sprint qualifying format which will be introduced at Silverstone.

The new race weekend developed by the FIA is very different from a normal weekend. Therefore, the FIA sporting regulations need to be changed to be addressed to the sprint qualifying.

The major changes concerning the new format were already discussed some time ago. However, minor details were not decided yet, for instance, the parc ferme regulations.

Those details were discussed on Thursday by the FIA staff and the F1 members. Some teams pointed out that certain types of works that were usually made on Friday evening or Saturday morning would need to be done on Friday afternoon before qualifying (which would be on Friday afternoon).

The main problem for some teams is clutch shimming. Alpine, McLaren, Aston Martin, and Alfa Romeo usually do that operation on Friday evening or Saturday morning. However, it would be almost impossible for them to do it with the new weekend format if that type of work is not excluded from the parc ferme regulations, meaning they would miss all the FP2 session.

The teams that were not mentioned above have clutches that last more, therefore they do not need to that operation that soon.

After today’s meeting, the FIA decided that the clutch shimming operation will not be omitted from the parc ferme regulations. Despite that, teams can use a new clutch even under parc ferme regulations, but only if they have data to show that the change is needed. Plus, the teams that will do it will also have to give the original clutch to the FIA so that it can check whether the change was necessary or not.

The second major issue concerns the underside plank, which is usually changed before qualifying on Saturday. Teams cannot do it under the parc ferme rules, and after today’s meeting, it has been decided that no one can change that part.

Ross Brawn, Formula 1 managing director, spent some words before the meeting held on Thursday, July 1st.

“The rules are pretty definitive,” he said. “I mean, the issue of clutches was mentioned in the early days, but I must say it’s been fairly quiet lately.

“So I was intrigued to see it mentioned again, and I think we will talk about that [on Thursday], but the rules have been well defined.

“And the original agenda was a few little details, like how many sets of wets do we get back to Pirelli? And very, very minor details. So there was nothing fundamental.

“And to be clear, if nothing’s agreed [in Thursday’s meeting], it still goes ahead. There’s a set of rules which have gone through the World Motor Sport Council.

“And any little details can be adjustments to that. But the approval process has happened. So nothing is going to stop this now.”

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